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Is Buddypress right for me and my project?

  • Avatar of LudachrisGSX
    LudachrisGSX
    Participant

    @ludachrisgsx

    I’ve built a nice small business around vBulletin over the past 10 years. It’s a community site that thrives on user-generated content. And though I’ve had success building a site with that platform I’m not in love with the direction it’s gone – it doesn’t seem to have kept up with the trends of the modern community trends (at least, in my opinion). I think Forum sites will remain strong for a while but will eventually evolve, and I don’t know that vBulletin is going to be in the best position for that transition, which is why I would like to find a different platform to build the next community-driven project around.

    Though I’m critical of vBulletin’s outdated approach to online communities, I’ll be the first to admit that the script has been very scalable and inviting to millions of users looking to connect with (and interact with) others who have a common interest or passion. My next project will need to be built on a platform that can scale at least as well as vBulletin. I can jump over to Google and find countless websites with thousands of online users based on vBulletin, I haven’t found a way to do that same exercise with BuddyPress. The other script I had been seriously considering was phpFox, but I’m growing a little leery about the code and its ability to scale. I just don’t want to get to the point where we’re getting a lot of concurrent users and find that we chose the wrong platform.

    Here’s a list of requirements:

    - Scalable, able to easily handle a few thousand users online at a time
    - Not buggy, don’t want to spend a fortune fixing things that should work
    - Easily modified, with lots of plugins and a big dev-for-hire network
    - Has a ton of social media and community features out of the box
    - Easy to build out different content types and expand upon existing features, like:
    — More robust profile pages, with custom fields added by admin
    — Sub-profile pages, like: User Profile > Vehicle Profile 1 > Vehicle Content (info, videos, photos, blogs, etc)
    — Ability to plug in Facebook-like features
    - Not bloated – unused features can be turned off or removed (something I didn’t like about vB)
    - Easily optimized for search engines, especially the profiles
    - Solid support community where we can get help when we get stuck
    - Secure, obviously

    Again, I’ve been very close to choosing phpFox, as it has most of the features and plugins we’d need right out of the gate, with very little custom work to do what we want. But the built-in SEO features appear to be a little lacking and trying to fix the issues seems to raise flags in the code structure, which brings up questions about the scalability and overall capabilities of the script when the plan is to have a large site with thousands of online users at one time.

    My concerns about BuddyPress – it’s open source, which is risky to build a business around when you’re looking to customize it and add plugins. At least with a paid product you can get some level of support, but once you customize it, you lose out on that a bit. I’m also worried about it being based on a blogging script. A social media/community plugin for a blogging script seems like a risky move, compared to buying a script that is built specifically for a community site (like phpFox or vBulletin).

    I know that asking this here will come with a BP slant, but that’s fine. I really want to find out more about the benefits of the script, why it would be a better choice than something like phpFox or vBulletin, and this is obviously the best place to get that.

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Avatar of @modemlooper
    @modemlooper
    Moderator

    @modemlooper

    My concerns about BuddyPress – it’s open source, which is risky to build a business around when you’re looking to customize it and add plugins.

    BuddyPress IS WordPress AND is also open source and WP powers a large portion the internet. As for support, you can hire a developer to create and fix anything. The core plugin is completely stable and constantly being updated.

    Did you hear Google dropped Google Reader? phpfox could have a similar fate and since it’s not open source you could lose out, at least with open source you could take the code and do what ever you want.

    http://bpinspire.com

    Avatar of @mercime
    @mercime
    Keymaster

    @mercime

    @ludachrisgsx Looks like you’d want to import vbulletin forums to bbPress forums http://codex.bbpress.org/import-forums/vbulletin/ For more information/assistance, please post at http://bbpress.org/forums/

    BuddyPress and bbPress are both WordPress plugins.

    1. scalable – yes. One can only be limited by server and skillset. http://wordpress.org/showcase/flavor/buddypress/ are just some who have thousand of users.

    2. not buggy – nothing’s perfect in this world. Having said that, both BuddyPress and bbPress have the same Project Lead and both projects are actively maintained and upgraded. Compatibility of both plugins with current WordPress version is assured.

    3. easily modified – easy is relative. The code is open source. Experienced BP/bbP/WP developers can certainly add/remove features as needed.

    4. ton of features – register at http://testbp.org/ the official BuddyPress test site running default features on trunk versions of WP/BP/bbP using Twenty Twelve theme.

    5. easy to build out different content types etc – see #3 above.

    6. not bloated – one can enable or disable features as needed.

    7. easily optimized for search engines – WP/BP are naturally optimized for search engines even without “seo” plugins.

    8. solid support community – all of us who give support in these forums are volunteers living in different time zones. There is no on-demand support. One could hire full-time/experienced developers by posting at:
    - http://buddypress.org/support/forum/plugin-forums/bp-jobs-board/ and
    - http://jobs.wordpress.net/

    9. secure, obviously – we take security seriously.

    >> I know that asking this here will come with a BP slant,

    Unlike phpfox and vbulletin, we’re not trying to sell BuddyPress. It’s free. It’s there for anybody to use. And it’s an outstanding plugin if I may say so myself, constantly improving and keeping up to date with latest developments. We have active communities submitting enhancement requests, bug reports and patches for the bugs where found. There are developers who submit add-ons themes/plugins which are either free in WordPress.org or commercial ones specifically for BuddyPress.

    Good luck with your selection process.

    EDIT – I took my time answering, didn’t see your post @modemlooper

    Avatar of @modemlooper
    @modemlooper
    Moderator

    @modemlooper

    no worries! ;)

    Avatar of LudachrisGSX
    LudachrisGSX
    Participant

    @ludachrisgsx

    Thanks for the replies… having used WordPress several times before to build client sites, I do feel pretty comfortable with it and understand what it is. I’ve just never used it for a community site solution like my vBulletin site business. I guess I’m just trying to feel comfortable with the idea of using a script that wasn’t originally designed to be a community script as the basis for a community site.

    One of the drawbacks of it not being a community script out of the box is that you have to load it up with a ton of plugins and then worry about compatibility and quality of code (something I’ve also encountered with vB, Drupal, and Joomla). The more plugins the more headache come upgrade time usually. Hopefully that won’t be a big issue like it is with vB.

    I think I feel good enough to start installing a test site to build it up and see how close we can get to our project vision using available plugins and themes.

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)

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